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Recall Lindsay Berschauer Campaign Organizers Facing Lawsuit, Ethics Violation for Alleged False Statements in the Recall Petition.

The organizers of the recall campaign against Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer have been threatened with a lawsuit for making false statements in the ballot.

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In a previous article, The Truth About Recall Lindsay Berschauer Campaign Organizers That All Voters Should Know, I provided screenshots from communications within the secret Facebook group Progressive Yamhill that prove the Recall Lindsay Berschauer campaign organizers are members of this registered chapter of the Indivisible movement, a nationwide organization that endorses fringe far-left political ideologies such as Critical race theory, the discredited pseudo-science of “gender identity”, black separatism, defunding of the police and closure of all prisons, and other kinds of radical socialist agendas.

In that previous article I presented screenshots of statements by Progressive Yamhill members who actively participated in the recall campaign (even admitting to gathering measure signatures) that prove they have made knowingly false statements about Lindsay Berschauer to voters in order to garner support for the recall election.

Since publishing that article, Yamhill Advocate has been informed that a group of private citizens in Yamhill County have filed an ethics violation complaint against Save Yamhill County PAC (political action committee) and its organizers with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Additionally, Commissioner Berschauer has threatened the recall organizers with a lawsuit.

Commissioner Berschauer Sends Demand Letter to Save Yamhill County

On a section of the Lindsay for Yamhill County website, letters from Sherman Sherman Johnnie & Hoyt, LLP, a law firm retained by Commissioner Berschauer, demand that Save Yamhill County PAC and its representatives Philip Forve and Lynette Shaw retract all false statements made about Berschauer,

In response to this letter, Philip Forve, and Lynnette Shaw’s attorney, Linda Williams. sent the following,

The problem, in my opinion, with Linda Williams’s response is that she is primarily citing cases involving the protection of public statements made by private citizens and companies. These are not cases of law about the speech made by political action committees while conducting a recall campaign. Instead, per Oregon law statute ORS 260.532 False publication relating to candidate or measure, it is illegal for a political action committee and its representatives to make false statements in order to entice the public to support a recall petition, and it is not a protected form of free speech.

Consequently, Oregon’s Anti-SLAAP measure (which was designed to protect journalists and the general public when expressing opinions) is not applicable in this situation. It also does not permit a political action committee to make knowingly false statements on a ballot about a candidate. I can say this confidently because there are prior cases in Oregon that demonstrate the courts have ruled intentionally lying to the public to win a recall is illegal under state law and that the anti-SLAAP measure cannot be used to dismiss the case. Notably, one of these cases is Bryant v. Recall for Lowell’s Future Committee, 286 Or App 691, 400 P3d 980 (2017). This case overturned a previously granted anti-SLAAP dismissal motion and ruled that a “false statement is material if statement could or would significantly influence reader’s decision-making process.” The court also wrote that statements made by political action committees with a reckless disregard for the truth are not protected either. Consequently, due to precedence, a political action committee and its representatives cannot use the Anti-SLAAP motion to dismiss guilt for false statements made during a recall campaign in the state of Oregon. That motion was plainly not designed to allow a political action committee to lie to voters in order to sway elections.

As I demonstrated in my previous article, The Truth About Recall Lindsay Berschauer Campaign Organizers That All Voters Should Know, people who have taken an active role in the recall campaign against the Commissioner know they have no evidence for the claims they have made about her, and in some cases, that they have knowingly outright lied to the public (such as by claiming attorney Tyler Smith is the “brother in law”, “cousin”, or other type of relative to the Commissioner, when he is in fact not). Past case law makes it clear that lies are not a protected forms of free speech when you are a registered political action committee in the state of Oregon. Political campaign organizers must actually possess evidence for the claims made to voters in their materials, especially those claims which are printed on a voter information guide printed on the ballots themselves. They cannot engage in a reckless disregard for the truth to manipulate voters.

Recall Organizers Have Still Not Provided Evidence For Their Claims

Save Yamhill County PAC has no evidence for the claims they have made about Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. It has been weeks since I published my article challenging them to provide concrete evidence for the claims, and instead this is the only response I have received to that challenge from people associated with the recall campaign (Megan Corvus, Marvin Bernards, and the Progressive Yamhill Facebook Page AKA Lynette Shaw),

As can plainly be seen in the statement made by Megan Corvus (Recording Secretary for the Yamhill County Democrats and co-founder of Progressive Yamhill), Marvin Bernards (a moderator of the Progressive Yamhill Facebook group) and the Progressive Yamhill Facebook page itself (which I believe is controlled by Lynette Shaw, filer of the Save Yamhill County PAC), they have no evidence for the claims they have made about Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer profiting from her consulting business while serving. They try to claim that having no evidence is evidence, and that is a false statement with a reckless disregard for the truth.

Consequently, it is my opinion Save Yamhill County PAC and its representatives will lose this lawsuit. It is clear that they have acted in bad faith and abused a mechanism of our republic, costing tax payers a large amount of money and wasting both the Commissioner and many other people’s time on a recall campaign built on lies.

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Carey Martell
Carey Martellhttps://www.yamhilladvocate.com
Publisher and editor for Yamhill Advocate. Digital media entrepreneur. Born and raised in Newberg, Oregon. US Army Veteran.
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